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Michael Rupiper, Pre-Trial Release Administrator

402-599-2533 (Pretrial Office)
402-599-2558 (Electronic Check-In Line)

Today, the Pretrial Release Program is operated through the Department of Corrections as a safe and cost-effective means of providing to the courts an alternative to incarceration. This mission of the program is to protect the public's safety and interest while providing alternative resources for the courts, the Correctional Center and the public at large. The program offers supervision and reporting to the courts for defendants who otherwise may not be able to make a money bond. The goals of the program are to provide complete, accurate, non-adversarial information to judges to improve the release/detention decision process in the Douglas County criminal courts, to identify those for whom alternative forms of supervision may be more appropriate than incarceration, to monitor released pretrial defendants to ensure compliance with the conditions of release imposed by the judges and for the benefit of community safety.

Program Elements

The Pretrial release program is typically staffed by several part-time Creighton law students and one part time senior interviewer. Pretrial Release provides to the court at bond setting relevant, objective information about defendants so that a knowledgeable and equitable release decision can be reached for each individual defendant. The PTR staff interview felony defendants to determine the defendant's ties to the community, review criminal records and apply this information to a point scale. Defendants released under the supervision of the PTR program must call a computer answered phone line each day until they are either sentenced, found innocent or the charges are dismissed. Compliance reports are issued to the appropriate judge. Pretrial Release staff also assists in the screening and intake process for the Day Reporting Program and in filing petitions for Board of Mental health Commitments of inmates in custody at corrections.

Program Benefits

The Pretrial Release program performs reporting functions and does not have the authority to change conditions of bonds or physically apprehend rules violators. It does, however, offer to society a higher level of supervision than a straight ROR bond, with several benefits also realized for both the defendant and the courts:

  • Scarce tax dollars are saved because some defendants who otherwise may not make a money bond are released either ROR or with a lower money bond because of the Pretrial Release supervision;
  • They daily check-in requirement serves as a daily reminder to the defendant that he or she is out on bond;
  • If a defendant stops checking into pretrial release, both Pretrial Release and the courts have advance warning that a defendant is likely to fail to appear in court;
  • The daily check-in requirement gives the courts information on where the defendant has been calling from each day;
  • If a participant shows that he or she can comply well with a simple daily check-in requirement, then the defendant is more likely to succeed on probation; and
  • Many law students each year are given valuable first hand experience in the workings of our criminal justice system.

Priority Prosecution Offering Program

The Priority Prosecution Offering Program (PPO) is an innovative program created as a direct result of need, whose purpose is to assist in reducing the jail population by reducing the average length of time between the time of the defendant’s bond setting and trial date.

Pretrial status misdemeanor offenders still incarcerated after five days from bond setting are identified. The Douglas County Public Defenders office, in cooperation with the City Prosecutors office, will then give priority in the prosecution of these cases, because these defendants have not made bond. Appropriate defendants are then offered the opportunity to appear in court at a considerably earlier date than originally scheduled. Since court dates are typically scheduled from 3 and 6 weeks from the date of the defendant’s initial court appearance, there is great incentive to get the case to court as early as possible.

Many important benefits are realized from this program. The program may result, in certain appropriate cases, in a lower bond being set, thus enabling the defendant to make bond.Freedom for the defendant before trial, in appropriate cases, promotes the principle of innocent until proven guilty, and it also better enables the defendant to put together an appropriate defense prior to their trial. The Correctional Center also benefits through reduced days in jail for some of the defendants whose cases are disposed with a “time served” sentence.

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